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Education Reading Academy Teaches Kids To Think Critically



(Vanderbilt University models program off of successful Saturday University)

By Vicky Travis, The Tennessean


For most middle-schoolers, the thought of Saturday school would earn a loud “yuck.”

But a group of 20 Nashville fifth- and sixth-graders wrapped up six weeks of it Saturday, waking up to mind-expanding ideas about books and relating them to film. These high-achieving kids already love to read, but through a program with Metro Nashville Public Schools and Vanderbilt University, they’re thinking critically and talking about books in a way they haven’t before.

The Reading Academy at Vanderbilt pairs students who tested in the top 20 percent for reading proficiency at IT Creswell Middle Arts Academy with faculty from Vanderbilt’s Programs for Talented Youth.


“After being in school all week and having activities all week, Terrance wakes up ready to go on Saturday,” says Vienitta Jobe, grandmother to Terrance Otis, 10. “He gets out telling me all he’s learned, and he’s interacting with kids who challenge him.”

The Reading Academy is one of two Vanderbilt programs that stimulates reading among middle-schoolers. They’re funded by best-selling author and Vanderbilt alumnus James Patterson.

Photo provided by The Black Star Project/Mass Black Male Graduation


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